OxyContin for kids is dangerous idea

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Food and Drug Administration seems clueless.

As pain-pill-driven addiction has swept across the nation over the past decade, the federal agency has continued to approve more powerful drugs and loosen restriction on their uses.

This week the FDA approved using OxyContin with children 11 to 16 who are suffering from severe, long-term pain. While the approval comes with some guidelines about how doctors should prescribe these drugs, there seems to be little recognition of the dangers of putting these powerful and expensive drugs into the hands of middle school and high school students.

“This recent decision by the FDA to prescribe OxyContin to children as young as 11 years old is a horrifying example of the disconnect between the FDA approval process and the realities the deadly epidemic of prescription drug abuse are having on our communities,” responded U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Most of the spread of pain-pill addiction and related heroin use results from an oversupply of these drugs, either through liberal prescription volumes or illegal sales. Adding children and teens to the mix not only exposes these young people to possible drug abuse, but it gives them prescriptions that can be resold for $80 or more per pill.

Manchin plans to call for a Senate investigation of the FDA’s handling of these pain-pill decisions…

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